Hailing from Puerto Rico and Colombia, the trio called, Balancer, originally met while attending music school in Boston. Though all shared a love for music, they were initially reluctant to form a band. However, their musical chemistry could not be denied and today, now based out of Brooklyn, the band melds genres such as rock, pop and psychedelic rock to form their own beautifully entrancing sound.
In this Winehouse spotlight, Balancer talks music, balance and being free! Chaka V.
Q: Who is Balancer?
A: Balancer is Francisco, Felipe and Gabriela — making music together. Haha, as simple as that.
Q: How did the band become a band?
A: We met while going to school in Boston, MA. We started playing together for a recording session and fell in love with each other’s musical voice. The three of us have played with many other people–we’ve all played instruments for most of our lives–but the first time we played together it felt like music ought to make you feel, free.
So after that we kept playing for the sake of playing, just the three of us [in] a basement rehearsal space for many hours and many days. We did not have any plans of [forming] a band, or anything close to it, especially in a place (music school) where everybody is forming bands, recording albums, making tour plans, etc. It really makes you feel more special if you are not pursuing the same thing as everyone else around you. Making a band was really the last thing we wanted to do, we just wanted to enjoy the music. Luckily for us we had a very close friend who is an amazing producer and engineer, Garrett Reynolds, who pushed us to record and always keep recording, so we didn’t have to look far for an engineer who understood our sound (another thing that is always a pain when starting a band). And, also, it freed us from worrying so much about the technical parts of the sound, so we could focus on our part, while he focused on his. We consider him a part of the band, he actually even named the band [Balancer].
Q: And why did you go with the band name Balancer?
A: Balancer was the most honest way to name what we were trying to do and transmit, we did not (and still don’t) have any other expectations other than to create the most honest and beautiful music we can. We are musicians, our nature is to create, to play, and everything else is secondary. The music we were playing was balancing us, it was the “place” we could go to, to forget who we are and just be free by playing together, and that balanced our lives. Our only hope is that it brings balance to whoever listens.
Q: Who writes the band’s music?
A: We write the music together and the lyrics are [written] by Francisco.
Q: What are the major influences behind the band’s sound and lyrics?
A: Sound wise well…alternative rock, like Radiohead and Grizzly Bear. Also, of course, the Beatles are very influential to all of us. We also have an academic background, which has influenced us a lot by exposing us to many, many different types of music, some of them [stuck] very deeply in our creativity, and the way we see music–like jazz.
Also, the places we grew up in, our native cultures, have deep roots in our music–Caribbean music, andean, salsa, etc. They are not literal references, but they are a huge part of our identities and surely somehow are heard in the mix.
Q: What fun hidden talents do each of you – Francisco, Gabriela and Felipe – have?
A: Gabriela does graphic stuff as well. She does digital illustrations and graphic design under the name of Ela Minus. She is responsible for all of Balancer’s graphic work. She also works on synths, like, making them. Felipe also illustrates and is becoming involved on the graphics of the band since “Tipsoo” — for the cover they actually both sat down and worked together until it was completely done. Francisco is a great, great cook. And has a talent to wear Hawaiian shirts.
Q: What is the band’s current dream gig?
A: We would love to open for Radiohead, or Flaming Lips or Grizzly Bear, or, oh… so many great ones.
Q: What kind of party vibe will you be bringing to NXNE 2014?
A: We like to see people dancing and smiling and just having a good time. There are many reasons to celebrate, like the fact that we are all alive! And when we are together, like we will be at NXNE, we have to celebrate the ritual of getting together with other people to listen to music and lose ourselves to it!